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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

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:                         264                                  ABSTRACT  OF A PAPER
the line of light seen upon it is viewed through a prism held to the eye.    In this way it is found that almost all common organic substances, such as wood, cork, paper, calico, bone, ivory, horn,                     wool, quills, feathers, leather, the skin of the hand, the nails, are
sensitive in a greater or less degree. Organic substances which are dark-coloured are frequently found to be insensible, but, on the other hand, scarlet cloth and various other dyed articles are highly sensitive. By means of a linear spectrum the peculiar dispersion of a red light produced by chlorophyll, or some of its modifications, may be observed not only in a solution, but in a green leaf, or on a washed paper, or in a sea-weed.
The highly sensitive papers obtained by washing paper with tincture of turmeric, or a solution of sulphate of quinine, or some other highly sensitive medium, display their sensibility in a re-markable manner when they are examined in a linear spectrum. In these cases, however, the paper produces a very striking effect when merely held so as to receive a pure spectrum formed in the usual manner, that is, with a slit parallel to the edges of the prisms. Such a paper may be used as a screen for showing the fixed lines belonging to the invisible rays, though they are not |(                             thus shown quite so well as by using a solution. The extraordinary
Jtj f l'                       prolongation of the spectrum seen when it is received on turmeric
paper has been already observed by Sir John Hersehel, by whom it was attributed to a peculiarity in the reflecting power of that substance. Of course it now appears that the true explanation is very different.
A high degree of sensibility appears to be rather rare among inorganic compounds. Certain specimens of fiuor spar, as is already known, give a copious internal dispersion of a deep blue light; but this is plainly due to some foreign ingredient, the nature of which is at present unknown. But there is one class of inorganic compounds which are very remarkable for their sensibility, namely, certain compounds of peroxide of uranium, including the ornamental glass called canary glass, and the natural mineral yellow uranite. In these compounds the dispersed light is found on analysis to consist of bright bands arranged at regular intervals. A very remarkable system of absorption bands is also found among these compounds, which is plainly connected with the system of bright bands seen in the spectrum of the dispersed light. The connection between the absorption and internal dispersion ex-